The Dysasters (The Dysasters #1)

The Dysasters (The Dysasters #1)

P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast


As always we would like to thank our amazing agent and friend, Meredith Bernstein. We heart our Meredith!

A big thank-you to Macmillan’s Team Cast, most especially Jen Enderlin, Anne Marie Tallberg, Monique Patterson, and the harried production and design staff who have worked so hard to be sure this book is beautiful.

A sincere thank-you to my friend and trans consultant, Liv. Thank you, girlfriend! You are wonderful to work with. It has been a true pleasure getting to know you and being educated by you. Any mistakes made with Charlotte are mine.

—P. C.



“Cora, why are we here? This has got to be the definition of the middle of nowhere.” Frowning at the stains on the bedspread, Foster plopped down on the lumpy mattress. “And this has to be the skeeziest motel we’ve been to in the past year.” She tucked her arms into her flannel sleeves and tried not to stare at the layers of grime covering every surface.

“You hush, and be grateful to have a roof over your head. Some people aren’t that lucky.” Air hissed out of the chair cushion as Cora sat and scooted her seat up to the small table under the small window of the very small room.

“And some people don’t have to spend their birthday weekend in misery,” Foster groaned.

“Missouri,” Cora corrected, pulling her laptop from the beat-up leather bag she was never without. “Homer, Missouri, to be precise.”

“After we find this guy, do you think things will go back to normal?” Foster paused, chewing the inside of her cheek. Since her adoptive father, Doctor Rick, had died in a boating accident five years before, she and Cora had developed their own little routine at home in Portland. Oregon, not Maine. Who wanted to go to Maine? But Foster’s opinion that the West Coast was in fact the best coast wasn’t the point, the point was that her life had been an unending, stressful, semi-dirty (though not in the good, sexy way) road trip ever since Cora had sold Doctor Rick’s fertility clinic one long, long year ago. Since then, not one single thing had been normal. And Foster desperately wanted her life back. Her home back.

Foster felt Cora’s knowing eyes on her and she met her adoptive mother’s worried gaze, adding hastily, “Or as normal as they can be?”

“We’ll see. Now quit fussin’! I need to concentrate and you’re giving me a headache.” Mumbling to herself about bothersome children, Cora refocused on her laptop and massaged her jaw absentmindedly.

“You really should go see a dentist. With all the chocolate you eat, you probably have a cavity the size of some giant moon crater. Or maybe it’s your wisdom teeth.” Contemplatively, Foster drummed her fingers against her knee. “No, I guess you’re too old for wisdom teeth. What about—”

“Foster, hush!”

Foster obliged, holding her breath, willing silent the questions surging behind her closed lips. But she couldn’t hold. Not for long. Not with Cora. With the rest of the world not talking was no problem. Actually, she preferred it that way, and she was pretty sure it made her come off a wee bit bitchy. Well, probably a lot bitchy, but that was only if she went off of what other people told her about herself, and she tried never to care about that.

Before she even realized she was speaking the levee had broken and words rushed out of her mouth. “Why are we here, anyway? No one stops in Tornado Alley unless they have a death wish.” Thunder cracked, rattling the thin glass of the cheap wall sconces. “See! I told you. I mean, that would have been perfect right on cue like that if it wasn’t so freaking ominous,” Foster said, slinging her backpack over her shoulder as she headed toward the door. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Calm down, child.” Cora’s tight dreads skimmed her shoulders as she shook her head. “There’s a hospital just up the road a ways. Saw it when we drove in.” She took a deep breath and kneaded her left shoulder in the same automatic way in which she massaged her jaw, almost like the action was as necessary yet thoughtless as brushing your teeth. “I know they’ll have a basement, and if this storm whips up a tornado, we’ll head over there. Until then, sit down. Your teenage angst isn’t helping me get through this any faster.”

“It’s not angst,” Foster murmured, picking at the plastic faux wood finish of the table. “I just thought we’d be doing something cooler for my birthday. I only turn eighteen once. I kind of, I don’t know, wanted it to be special.” She pooched out her bottom lip and batted her impossibly long eyelashes.

Cora glanced up at her and snorted. “Try again.” She turned her attention back to the computer, her deep-henna eyes reflecting the brightly lit screen.

“What if we can’t get to the hospital in time because of the wind and the hail and the rain and whatever?”

Cora sighed. “Every thunderstorm does not produce a tornado. If it did, there’d be nothing left of the middle of the country.”

“Like there’s anything here now. And look,” she tossed her backpack onto the table and dug through its unorganized contents. “Storms have been changing, especially major storms. And I can prove it. Check this out.” Peeling off a crusty ketchup packet, she handed Cora a wad of crinkled papers.

P.C. Cast, Kristin C's Books